As promised this past week, the government controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) has ordained a new bishop to stem what it calls a ‘dire shortage’ of bishops. This ordination, unlike previous government approved appointments, has received the approval of the Vatican, according to the BBC.
Bishop Xiao was ordained as the coadjutor for the Diocese of Guizhou meaning he will assume leadership when 88 year-old Bishop Anicetus Wang retires.
The ordination ceremony was attended by three thousand people and is the first episcopal ordination since Pope Benedict’s letter to the Catholic Church in China.
In the wake of Benedict XVI’s call for unity between the “official” church and the “underground” church, some of those who attended the ceremony were part of the “underground” church. Since word of the Vatican’s approval of Bishop Xiao was circulating for some time before his ordination, it was possible for these Catholics, who remain loyal to the Pope in the face of persecution, to attend.
The CCPA has said that more ordinations will follow soon, although there is debate as to whether or not the Vatican has already approved the choices and the CCPA is trying to upstage the Church.